Minot High School Central Campus
- Number of Students: 943
- Percent Eligible for Free and Reduced Lunch: 24%
- Percent of Limited English Proficient: 2%
- Percent of Special Education: 12%
- White: 80%
- Black: 6%
- Hispanic: 6%
- Asian: 3%
- Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander: 0%
- American Indian or Alaska Native: 5%
- Multiracial: 0%
- Other: 0%
Before we started PLC at Central Campus, our teachers had a “closed door” individualistic approach to teaching so learning was inconsistent and was dependent upon which teacher the students were assigned. Teachers who had weaknesses in certain areas were forced to struggle on their own to try and improve learning for their students. In an effort to alleviate this struggle, prioritized standards were developed at Central Campus for each course. Prioritized standards are the knowledge, skills and dispositions we expect students to acquire for each course. When departments started identifying prioritized standards and giving common formative assessments, the data from Mastery Manager showed discrepancies in student mastery of learning targets. Mastery Manager provides teachers with real time, actionable student performance data, that is linked to our prioritized standards. Furthermore, Mastery Manager allows our teachers to maximize time collaborating rather than correcting assessments, projects, and manually analyzing data. However, after sharing resources and working together, we now have data that shows students are learning more consistently in every class, regardless of the teacher, without lowering our standards of excellence. For example, the data shows that one teacher’s classes were significantly lower than those of his peers, but after collaborating in PLC, assessments given later over the same standard showed a marked improvement in proficiency on the standard. This improvement not only is greatly impacting students, but teachers are able to see the improvements as well, which creates a positive learning atmosphere. Our teachers are currently working on developing scales for each prioritized standard in student friendly language.
In the 2010-11 school year, we hosted the first ND PLC Summit in Minot for teachers and administrators from all over the state. The majority of the presenters were teachers and principals from our school. In addition, teachers and administrators from other schools have visited our school in person and via Skype to learn from our teachers and observe the PLC process. In April 2015, The AdvancEd review team findings recognized a spirit of professional collaboration and effective functionality of the PLC process as powerful practices. Teacher Julia Koble and Principal Keith Altendorf presented at the ND Fall Education Improvement Conference in October of 2010 to discuss our “Failure is Not an Option” mission statement and how PLC has affected that goal. Staff members from multiple departments have attended Solution Tree workshops as well as other PLC-based workshops such as PLC @ Work Institute, Assessment Institute & Summit, and Common Core Standards and Assessment. Also, four administrators and nine lead teachers attended a six-day PLC coaching academy designed to provide school leaders with the knowledge, tools, and skills to effectively coach our school and staff through the change process. In addition, many Solution Tree PLC experts have provided professional development support at our school. They include but not limited to Nicole Vagle, Paul Farmer, and Chris Jakicic.
The summer of 2011 the community of Minot was devastated by an enormous flood. Over 4000 homes were lost with 10,000+ people displaced. Thirty six percent of the Central Campus staff experienced flooded homes. In spite of this natural disaster, Central Campus maintained it's laser-like focus on student learning through the PLC process.
Central Campus’ effort to improve learning for all students has moved beyond our school walls. In the spring of 2017, Central Campus hosted a school visit from a neighboring school district to share our PLC and Academic Literacy work in an effort to help get their school moving in a PLC direction. Their leadership team was very impressed and excited to get started. Often neighboring schools have their teachers visit our school to see our PLC process in action.
1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.
All Central Campus teachers and administrators have access to student data, and regularly discuss individual, classroom, and subject area results in PLC teams. Prioritized standards and scales are shared with students prior to learning the material and throughout the unit so that the students are aware of their learning expectations. Teachers utilize the data analysis program Mastery Manager to monitor progress and identify learning targets that students are not mastering. Mastery Manager allows teachers to quickly analyze assessment data for re-teaching that focuses on specific gaps in student learning. This data allows for multiple intervention strategies such as team-teaching, re-teaching, and enrichment activities. Additionally, all teachers participate in the Intervention program where they are able to work with their students the last period of the day in re-teaching, tutorials and remediation. We have also experimented with using students as peer tutors during Intervention as well as partnered with Minot State University Teacher Education Program to give their student teachers student contact experience and also help with our student Intervention Program. Every three weeks, grades are checked to determine which students need to be placed into the Intervention Program. Students who are failing or near failing are assigned Intervention with the teacher of the class they are failing. This is directed and not by invitation. Teachers are also given the authority to place students into Intervention whose grades might not indicate the necessity.
None of this would have been possible without restructuring the school day to provide a common collaborative planning period for each department five days per week. During common planning periods, teams have also developed team norms, smart goals, prioritized standards, scales, pacing guides, common formative and summative assessments, and common exemplars. Prior to developing our prioritized standards, departments looked at the state standards and ranked them for readiness, leverage, and endurance. Departments also look at overall school-wide data, interventions, and best practices. Teachers take notes during department meetings that are stored in digital locations, as well as shared with principals for artifact/evidence work for their PLC team. Teachers access data via the Mastery Manager program, MAP tests, State Assessments, RI tests (Reading Inventory-a reading assessment within the READ180 program), as well as district and state data. Administrators set a common SMART goal for all teachers, and departments are required to develop team SMART goals as well as individual teacher goals. Vertical alignment is addressed in two ways: departments meet during common planning periods for both 9th and 10th grade teachers to communicate learning targets that might need more support or are finding success. Secondly, staff development days have been spent working with the same departments at the 11th and 12th grade campus for the same purposes as well as the three middle schools. Every teacher at Central Campus participates in an ongoing process of identifying the current levels of student achievement to improve student learning. Focus is made on the percentage of students reaching proficiency rather than an overall percentage. In 2014, the Minot Public Schools adopted the Marzano Teacher Evaluation Model which has a strong emphasis on monitoring for desired effects which includes but is not limited to student learning and engagement.
In June of 2007, the Central Campus principals attended the Professional Learning Communities @ Work Institute and decided to make Minot Public Schools a PLC district. Principal Keith Altendorf spent the school year of 2007-08, during teachers' planning periods, explaining what a professional learning community was and encouraging staff discussion on how we could implement it. Eric Twadell visited the high school in February of 2008 for an all staff workshop on PLC. At the end of that school year, the school schedule was changed to allow for common planning time for each department, Intervention time was scheduled into the school day, and we added a requirement to each student to take seven classes per day. In addition, each department was given release time from classes to develop prioritized standards and learning targets. We also created a SMART goal of having 92% of all students pass all classes. In 2008-09, we established a professional library of PLC books, workbooks and videos for teacher use. In 2009-10 PLC Academy Workshop was attended by eleven teachers and four administrators which formed our PLC leadership team. This team met with department chairs to assess progress for each department and met periodically throughout the year to address building concerns. During this time, departments developed common formative assessments and analyzed the data for student learning. The Mastery Manager data analysis online program was adopted for the school in January 2010. Since then, departments have used the Mastery Manager program to analyze data from common assessments to better student learning.
2. Creating systems of intervention to provide students with additional time and support for learning.
Every three weeks, the administrators, counselors, and classroom teachers identify at-risk students who are in need of remediation due to grades or learning targets and assign them to intervention. Intervention is a class in and of itself, held for 30 minutes the last period of the day, and four days per week. Students spend time with the teacher who assigned them, or may rotate through multiple teachers if the student is struggling in multiple areas. Each teacher works with the student to re-teach concepts, allows additional time for work, and retest on subject matter that had proven difficult. Once the student has achieved proficiency, as determined by the teacher, he or she is released from the Intervention Program. All busing and extra-curricular activities are delayed until the Intervention period is complete.
In addition, teachers meet with their departments during common planning periods to discuss re-teaching methods, share resources, develop exemplars, and create enrichment activities for students who are meeting goals. Common assessments are examined to identify learning targets that are not being met and to develop strategies to meet those targets.
If students are not successful with those approaches, building level support teams meet outside of class to discuss alternative strategies for success. Students who continue to not be successful start the journey up our pyramid of interventions until successful. We also have an alternative campus that houses students whose needs cannot be met at Central Campus.
3. Building teacher capacity to work as members of high performing collaborative teams that focus efforts on improved learning for all students.
Departments are given common planning time and meet at least two times per week during that period. The Mastery Manager program provides an easier way to analyze data from common assessments and track student performance in a prompt, reliable fashion. SMART goals are assigned to individual teachers and departments to develop content-specific goals, as well. The concept of using formative assessments to change instruction instead of measuring and moving on continues to be the culture of our school.
In 2016, Central Campus began a journey to improve PLC communication and academic literacy across all curricular areas. Teams of teachers received in depth training in the areas of student engagement, vocabulary and comprehension during their PLC time. Central Campus also began learning walks and peer coaching observations. A website was developed to help coordinate learning walks. From the website teachers can host a learning walk, view available learning walks by hour and date, submit verification of a completed learning walk, print a learning walk observation form and view a monthly calendar of all scheduled learning walks. In addition, when a teacher submits to host a learning walk the website places an event into the professional calendar of all teachers and administrators. Teachers can video record themselves using our Swivl robot recording system and upload the video to the website to also receive peer feedback and coaching.
Numerous times per year all teachers get observed and all teachers observe their peers to provide peer coaching, affirmations, constructive feedback and wonderings related to student learning and our academic literacy work. Feedback can also include questions, tried and trues and crank it ups. A learning walk feedback form was developed to provide specific actionable feedback for the teacher.
The school leadership team, which attended the PLC Academy in 2009, meets monthy to discuss school-wide issues and to develop action plans to address conflicts or challenges that arise. For example, some elective teachers have courses that are not taught by any other teacher so they were unsure how to address the common assessment goals or how to actively pursue the PLC ideals. The team took half of a school day to break into small groups and then meet with each of these teachers to help them develop plans and to make them feel they were part of our Professional Learning Community. In addition, the district now provides several early-release days. This allows content area teachers, grades 6-12, to work collaboratively in order to eliminate curricular gaps and provide more consistent vertical alignment.
Minot High School is unique in that we are the only high school in the state with a split campus and one of very few in the nation. Juniors and seniors attend Magic City Campus while the freshmen and sophomores attend Central Campus. A shuttle transports students back and forth throughout the day for classes and extra-curricular activities. Though we are considered one school (MHS), our building functions as our own school separate from the other campus. In addition, because of our partnership with Minot Air Force Base and the influx of people working in the North Dakota oil industry, our population is constantly changing which brings both challenges and opportunities.
NWEA MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) Testing: The NWEA MAP test shows improvements with math and readings scores improving for each class of students. MAP tests are given to each class of students in grades 2 through 10 in the areas of mathematics and reading.
The class of 2017 NWEA MAP mathematics average score was 70.1% prior to entering our school. In grade 9 this score went up to 72.4% and in grade 10 it went up even further to 76.6%. This is 6.5% growth in two years. The class of 2017 NWEA MAP reading average was 73.9% prior to entering Central Campus. In grade 9 this score went up to 77.1% and in grade 10 the score went up again to 87.8%. This is a 13.9% increase in reading in two years.
The class of 2018 NWEA MAP mathematics average score was 63.2% prior to entering our school. In grade 9 this score went up to 68.9% and in grade 10 it went up even further to 77.6%. This is 14.4% growth in just two years. The 2018 class NWEA MAP reading average score was 71.8% prior to entering Central Campus. In grade 9 the score went up to 80.7% and in grade 10 the score went up again to 88.8%. This is a 17% increase in reading for just two years.
The class of 2019 NWEA MAP mathematics average score prior to entering our school was 53.7%. This score went up to 76.3% in grade 9, a 22.6% growth in just one year. The class of 2019 NWEA MAP reading score average was 67.0% prior to entering Central Campus. The grade 9 NWEA MAP reading test indicated a score of 86.7% which is a 19.7% growth in just one year for the class of 2019.
We believe the NWEA MAP growth is due to the extensive PLC work alive in our school. The North Dakota state assessment is not given to grades 9 or 10 so we do not have any data from that source.
Percent of Students passing all classes at Central Campus: In the fall of 2007, Central Campus set a SMART goal that 92% of all students would pass all classes while maintaining or exceeding our current standards of excellence. In the fall of 2007,the first year of PLC implementation, only 82% of students were passing all of their classes. Utilizing the principles of an effective PLC school, this percentage rose to a high of 95% in the spring of 2011. During that time, the total number of failing grades fell from a high of 338 to just 71. The last 4 semesters at Central Camps, we have seen percentages of 92.4%, 93.3%, 92.0% and 88.9% of students passing all of their courses. The PLC model and implantation has allowed us to consistently meet our SMART Goal and heighten academic success for our students.
- Five Staff Members received the district “Heart of a Teacher Award”
- North Dakota Traffic Safety Honor Roll Award
- Drivers Education Teacher of the Year
- ND Career and Technical Directors Award of Excellence
- National Safety Council Instructor of the Year
- Minot Public Schools Excellence in Leadership Award
- Air Force Association Teacher of the Year
- National Geographic Grosvenor Teacher
- North Dakota Assistant Principal of the Year
- North Dakota State Teacher of the Year
- Three Minot Teachers of the Year
- Two Former National Board Certified Teachers
- Multiple Golden Apple Award winners
- Multiple Lifetime Learning Award winners
- State Music Educator of the Year
- Tech department piloting an aerospace science curriculum from NASA
- Four National Geographic National Teacher Leadership Academy-Oceans
- Siemen’s STEM Institute Fellow
- National Writing Project Co-Director, local chapter
- Three authors (2 math, 1 science) for About Learning, Inc., curriculum series
- Advanced Aerospace Science Instructor/Outstanding Instructor Award
- North Dakota Agriculture Teacher of the Year
- International Music Camps Fiddlers Hall of Fame
- National Board Member of Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance
- Read 180 Certified Teachers
- North Dakota Driver’s Education Teacher of the Year
- Eleven Minot Public School District award winners for excellence in leadership, instructional excellence and as emerging young educator